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Ten Tips for Recruiting Medical Residents

Jackson Physician Search
April 14, 2021

Medical residents often begin the physician job search process 12-18 months prior to completing their training, making spring prime-time recruiting season.

With the physician shortage forecasted between 54,100 and 139,000 by the year 2033, recruiting medical residents is the best hope for healthcare administrators to fill in any gaps in their medical staffing plan due to normal physician turnover, planned physician retirements, and population growth.

Competition for top medical residents is always steep, so it is important for administrators to recognize that today’s residents have different perspectives and expectations about their career than those from years past.

While residents are equally passionate about the practice of medicine and patient care, it can be hard to reach them on a personal and professional level if you are stuck in the recruitment methods of the past. Here are ten tips to help you successfully recruit medical residents:

1. Use Social Media

Maybe more than any other generation of medical residents, recent graduating classes are all about technology. They are digitally connected through social media, so if your organization doesn’t have an engaging online presence, you may not be able to reach them. Don’t discount the effectiveness of social media platforms like LinkedIn and Doximity.

2. Create a Positive and Welcoming Environment

As you are engaging residents, be sure to listen more than you speak. Ask questions to find out about their goals and interests. By learning about them, you are creating an honest, open rapport and fostering an environment of trust which can be a winning combination for you. They are already under the pressure of making an important career decision, and anything you do to keep the process on the lighter side could be appreciated.

3. Respect Their Time

Long hours are nothing new for medical residents. They are managing the delicate balance of learning and performing in a very challenging environment. Don’t just add to the bombardment of job notifications that they receive on a daily basis. Instead, use the information you have gathered about their interests to keep the outreach relevant to them. This will help you cut through the noise while showing you respect their time.

4. Money Isn’t Everything

It may seem counter-intuitive to think that a resident with almost $200,000 in student loan debt isn’t totally focused on money, but it is true. Now more than ever, new physicians value their time away from work. Salary will always be important, but schedules, benefits, and other factors play a role in attracting residents. Stay open to creative compensation packages to set your organization apart from the crowd.

5. Focus on Work/life Balance

Demonstrate how you want to help them achieve a healthy work/life balance. Your approach should embody your investment in creating a culture of physician wellness. Think about ways to offer flexible scheduling and manageable call schedules. Earn their trust by illustrating how their life away from work is important to the organization.

6. Give Them Data

If you have been listening to your candidates, you will know the information that is important to them. Be prepared with current, accurate data about the position, such as patient volumes, compensation structure, performance expectations, etc. The key is to present the information in a format they are comfortable with. For example, instead of rattling off volumes of data over the phone, provide highlights and follow up with a more detailed email for them to review when they have a moment.

7. Highlight Culture and Values

Physicians today, residents included, want to be associated with a healthcare organization aligned with their values. Make it a point to highlight community initiatives, corporate mission, and values, and how culture plays a role throughout the organization. It will help to establish a connection on personal and professional levels and lays the foundation for strong physician retention.

8. Be a Resource

Any time you are speaking with a resident, a part of you is still recruiting. However, it can be valuable to be seen as a trusted resource for these young professionals. Offering advice or career insights can establish rapport and trust. Even if they are ultimately interested in a different organization, you are laying the groundwork for future opportunities. Keep in mind how connected this generation is, leading them to send classmates or colleagues your way.

9. Win the On-site Interview

Up to this point, all of your interactions with a resident have been verbal or in writing. A well-planned on-site interview is your opportunity to demonstrate everything you have talked about until now. For example, showcase your organization’s culture and values by introducing colleagues who embody them. By meeting those individuals who share similar traits, they will feel a sense of connection. The on-site interview is also a time to demonstrate everything you have learned about the candidate by including things of interest to them. For example, schedule time for a visit to a local hiking trail or botanical garden.

10. Communicate Future Growth Opportunities

Early career physicians want to join an organization where they can grow. Telling them about the organization’s mentorship and leadership development programs allows them to envision their future career path. If a physician can see themself maturing within your organization, you have a strong chance of retaining them for the long term.

Every resident is going to have different drivers and motivations that contribute to their career decisions. The key to setting your organization apart from the crowd is to individualize the recruitment experience as much as possible. With the proliferation of social media, it doesn’t take an excessive amount of effort to learn about the candidates you are recruiting. Learn about them as individuals and you can form stronger connections and appeal to them in specifics. This approach is far more effective than utilizing a generic one-size-fits-all recruitment strategy.

Our more than 40 years of experience has allowed us the opportunity to recruit many residents and if you are interested in leveraging our physician recruitment expertise, contact us today.

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